Laurel Johnson just cast the most important vote in Survivor history. But she no doubt would have rather been receiving votes instead of casting them. After making it all the way to the final 3, Laurel sat and watched as every single vote to win from the jury went to Wendell Holland and Domenick Abbate. And then, because there was a first-ever Final Tribal Council tie with each of the men getting five votes, Laurel had to go cast the tie-breaking decision.
In the end, she picked Wendell, handing him a million dollars and the title of Sole Survivor. Why Wendell? And how difficult a decision was it? Also, how does Laurel feel about being shut-out by the jury, not even receiving a vote from her alliance-partner Donathan? And does she now wish she had made a move against the power dup earlier? We asked the 29-year-old financial consultant all that and more after the finale was done, and here’s what she said. (Also make sure to read our Q&A with winner Wendell, our Q&A with runner-up Domenick, our finale recap, finale Q&A with Jeff Probst, and interview with Probst and Mark Burnett about NEXT season.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, Laurel, what does it feel like to cast the most important vote in the history of Survivor?
LAUREL JOHNSON: Oh, you know, it was not a vote that I wanted to cast, and it was gutting. To go through the emotional roller-coaster of going through a final Tribal thinking; “Okay, I have a shot at winning Survivor“, realizing that I was not winning Survivor, then realizing that I had to cast the vote between two guys who were two of my closest allies and friends in the game — it was absolutely gutting. And while I was happy for Wendell, my heart broke for Dom, because he also played a great game. And he also would have been a great winner; and I also loved him out there and considered him one of my closest friend